Thursday, July 31, 2014


It must have been in the mid 50s when Sue and I passed by each other without noticing - like two ships passing in the night. We both sat on Santa's knee at the Myer Emporium. We had no idea until 25 years later as we shared each other's photos that this possible chance meeting could possibly have occurred.

After a failed marriage each, we met on a blind date - Sue with her guide dog and me with a white cane - no not really, just jokin'.

So after this possible early pass by while meeting Santa, 30 years later we decided to have our photo taken together (at our wedding).

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wednesdays in France

To end our previous trips to France (it will be our 6th in October this year) we treat ourselves to one week in Paris. You'd think after several trips you would have explored the many nooks and crannies of this wonderful city. I like to take the camera down the little lane ways to see what I might discover.

Just down Rue de Grenelle, I found this lovely piece of history cowering below the more modern apartment houses around and above it.

The Tudor like buildings, the roses and other leafy growth drew me further within the grounds of the property where I found a small church. The path took me past the church and back out to the busy and noisy main streets of Paris once again. These little gems of serenity are a peaceful respite from the bustling commercial life of Paris.

Can anyone tell me where I was - not a competition, I'd just like to know more.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday is not about me, but my Mother and Father.
Jack is 93 and Meryl, my mother, my father's wife married in the late 40s, they bought a home in the working class suburb northern of Melbourne. They made a life for themselves for themselves with my sister and I.
Meryl passed away in 1978 and Jack naturally still holds a special spot in his heart after 36 years without his soul mate.
I guess we will all experience the same loss in our lives sometime - some day.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Its Wednesdays in France

It was 2012 - only two years ago and Sue's birthday trip being our fifth to France.
This trip took in a birthday dinner with family in Paris before hitting the TGV for two days in Marseilles. We picked up our hire car that took us from the south of France, across the Cote d'Azure via Frejus and Vence, through the Canyon Verdon, and then back to Saint Remy De Provence to meet up once again with family.
The 2012 trip took in many other delights but that's for another Wednesday's in France post.

Looking through the window at delicacies in Marseilles
Over the rooftops of Marseilles
Sue's favourite type of French shop - no not clothes or handbags.
Cooking things...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Back on the Bike

I know that I bang on a bit about bikes but its a lifestyle thing since I was a toddler. My folks told me I rode a bike before I could walk. I had this little circuit in the house where I would sprint up the hallway and around into the dining room via the sitting room and back up the hallway. The woodwork was chipped on the edges from my constant falls. Things don't change!!!!!! I still fall off.

How true is this statement.
After four weeks since my fall when I fractured two ribs, I had my first real training ride. It's the depths of winter here in Bayside Melbourne. I donned the thermals (7 degrees) for a 6.00 am start at the corner to meet the guys for the Saturday ride. We actually start before the main 7.30 am group for the extra kms but enjoy a stop along the way at a dedicated cyclists cafe - strangely called Cafe Racer.

Many of the cycling fraternity begin and finish their rides rides from Cafe Racer in St Kilda. Its about 20 odd kms from our starting point and a great place for a coffee and croissant. The walls have photos on the walls, all of a cycling theme - Eddy Merckx of Belgium is a favorite of all. There's the old time photos of the early Tour de France riders having a ciggie or a swig of French wine from the bottle.

Even our local Melbourne newspaper ran stories on the TdF and cycling generally while the Tour is in progress.
OK, now back to me - I can't tell you how good it was to be back out there on the bike with like minded friends - cold it was but the friendships within the sport are warm. PS: 70 kms for the today, a good start.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Winter at Mentone Beach

The wind was gusting - there was a chill in the air.
Snow fell on the higher altitudes in the rural areas of Victoria.
It is winter at Mentone Beach,
our home by the bay.

It was Friday 8.30 am when I stopped to take these photos on my iPhone.
We are now in the depths of Melbourne's winter and its hard to be motivated with outdoor activities.
But then again, its not Canada or Britain in winter.
Our weekend is looking better - not raining for a change.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Throwback Thursday with apologies to Walt in the Loire

A friend of Sue and I, a fellow Blogger does a thing called Throwback Thursday. Walt has a quirky sense of humor that appeals to us - I just thought I might do a Throwback  Thursday myself. Some may think that I may border on plagiarism but I prefer to call it a sign of admiration.

They called me young Winston as a child - maybe it was the cigars I smoked at the time!!!
Pop into Walt's Blog and enjoy his quirky humor.

And here's one of Walt when we presented him with a T-shirt from a photo he posted on his blog.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A New Home for Our Club

In 1982, Sue and I bought a red MGB. I'd had an indigo blue one in the mid-70s and so early in our relationship when I was the one who should be obeyed, I talked her into having this red MGB for her everyday car. Not long after buying the car we joined the MG Car Club of Victoria. The Club formed in 1958 and with a modest membership of over 100 members back then and now has become one of,  if not the largest Car Clubs in Victoria, with over 1500 members.

Although not as active in recent years, we were invited to the opening of the new Club rooms Wednesday night. In those early years Sue and I held committee positions and in recent times I'd completed a book on the 50 year history of the club that had been published and released for sale this year, so we were quite chuffed to be invited with other long standing, but not so active members to witness the opening of the rooms.

This our third "NEW" home in the 30 plus years we have been members, each time having to move due to expanding membership. The Club has been financial enough to retain our second home and purchase the next door warehouse and transform it into a true MG home. The carpet has a pattern of MG octagon logos, the suspended ceiling is a formation of multiple octagon shapes and our lectern is the grill, fenders and headlights of an MG TC. There's all the computer electronics to work the lights and projectors that really are quite dazzling. It was a fantastic night of frivolity with old friends renewing memories of the past. One person was asked what they thought made this Club special - who answer was, "It's just like a family". So very true.

The President stands behind a very special lectern with the image of our club logo projected on a permanent screen.
This special occasion attracted 240 members for the grand opening.
Lots of grey hair and in some cases none at all.
Our 50th anniversary took on the title, "From Larrikins to Old Snoozers"
There was a small presentation of the early pre-war twin overhead cam MGs on the screen.
And the real thing sat in the club room along side the 240 members so you can get an idea how large the main room is.
I suspect we will now become a little more active within the Club after enjoying the company of the many friends we've made over our 30 plus years of membership.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Wednesdays in France

OK - I know I've been a bit spasmodic with our Wednesdays in France posts but life when working gets a bit busy. I can tell you that our excitement thermometer is rising with now only 10 weeks before we spend 10 weeks in Italy and France. We start with flying into Rome and pick up our lease Citroen C4 and then  driving to Gaiole in Tuscany for our retro bike ride. We have about 28 Aussie friends joining us. What a hoot that will be.

After about 15 days or more in Italy we meander across Italy and France to see our friends C & M in the Loire. They are off to travel and catch up with friends elsewhere while we feed their pets, mow lawns, vacuum and dust. (my jobs Sue tells me).
Here's a few photos of our wonderful times in what Sue calls her spiritual home - the Loire.
Enjoying a river scene in Chinon
Chinon - a favorite of ours. Hello to Helen and Jean Michel

A cottage in Thenay near Pontlevoy and up the road from Montrichard - it holds special memories for us. We didn't realise at the time but the cottage came with friends. Hello to Carol and Mikee
We will then get some idea what it is to live the life in the Loire - will we survive, only time will tell.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Sunday saw us waking a little tired - Why???
Our room was above the function room of the hotels and all the young folk seemed to be having skolling competitions as young men do. That was in between the band playing.
Looking out from the cafe that was once known as Diver Dan's is the new bridge that replaced the old "pick a board" bridge that was in the Sea Change TV series.
It adds to traffic flow but the charm is missing - that's progress.
Its winter so no ice cream today.
We decided that we would have breakfast at a local Barwon Heads cafe called "Barwon Orange". Sue had the poached egg and bacon on sour dough and I had the poached eggs with mushies on sour dough washed down with two cappucinos.

Leaving after breakfast we drove back to catch the ferry at Queenscliff - it really is a lovely place. Making it just in time we drove straight on to the ferry for the 10.00 am sailing and decided we would  enjoy a little time in Sorrento before visiting close friends that have retired on the Mornington Peninsula.
In a century previous paddle steamers took their passengers across the bay.
Here's some early history of those days - click for a larger view.

As we drew closer to our destination we saw how some of the privileged lived in their mansions.

Sandstone hotel in Sorrento
Sorrento's Post Office
A cup of tea and sticky bun over a couple of very enjoyable hours saw us hit the road for home to prepare for the week ahead.

How was weekend - tell us - we'd like to know.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Last night we posted on the start of our weekend and Barwon Heads. 
It featured a small snippet of the TV series "Sea Change".
Today we took the car to the opposite side of the bay.
Join us on part two of our weekend.

Barwon Heads is on the Bellarine Peninsula and is reached either one of two ways. You can drive from the Melbourne Central Business District to the long flat boring highway to Geelong and then on to Ocean Grove. You enter Barwon Heads via a bridge that takes you across the outlet of the Barwon River.

Down on the far right bottom corner is Sorrento and Portsea. We caught the Ferry out of Sorrento and took some time to wander around the village of Queenscliffe before moving on to Barwon Heads.

The other more interesting route, particularly for us due to living 20 kms to the other side of the CBD is to drive through the rolling hills and bayside roads of the Mornington Peninsula to catch the Ferry at Sorrento that takes you to the historic village of Queenscliffe. We decided on this way and enjoy the trip across the bay.
The Ferry leaves Sorrento at the end of the Mornington Peninsula. Sorrento was on of Victoria's first settlements but was abandoned due to the lack of fresh water.

The water colour reproduction below shows the scene in the background  from a century earlier.
Sue became highly excited with the thought of crossing Port Phillip Bay on the Ferry - me, I get sea sick.
It actually is a quite an impressive ferry and very comfortable. After living on the bay for over 30 years, this was the first time we've taken it.

Yep! That's us enjoying a bit of fresh air in the depths of winter in Melbourne.
Barwon Heads started in the late 1800s as a small fishing village and during the 1920/1930s transformed to a sleepy holiday town. I actually remember spending maybe a week there with my folks and a couple of other families in a holiday home. I must have been around 10 years of age. What does come to mind was the freedom we had at that age. Without parents we went swimming, bike rides and caught Yabbies in a nearby dam. I can still remember the catch being thrown into boiling water and everyone enjoying a feast of Yabbies and locally caught fish. That was over 50 years ago.
The Ferry takes you to Queenscliff where we thought we would take in a light lunch at the VueGrand Hotel.
Looking out the windows of the VueGrand we saw Harry's bus service.
Lunch was a platter of dips with flat bread and squid with lime aiol
Barwon Heads is remembered by many reasons to many people. Possibly the most recent is that it is the Australian home for Cadel and Chiara Evans. Cadel of course being Australia's first Tour de France winner. I say first because sometime in the future I expect another Aussie will get there eventually now that Cadel has shown that it is possible.

Inside the Vue Grand Hotel Queenscliff.
This church has been converted to a home and is the main street of Queenscliff.
Further popularity was thrust upon Barwon Heads through the successful TV series "Sea Change", which was centered around the township and its rickety old bridge. You saw yesterday's post with a small snippet of Laura, and her daughter and son arriving in "Pearl Bay" and meeting Diver Dan. Its a series with a quaint twist and one that kept us enthralled for several seasons.

Barwon Heads was also used in the closing scenes of the film - On the Beach, based on Neville Shute's book.

We'll show some photos of Barwon Heads tomorrow.